The Dončić Dossier Vol: 7 — @ Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz

Image: EuroLeague.com

After suffering two defeats in a row, things didn’t get any better for Real Madrid as they were thrashed by 30 points (105-75) against Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz in Vitoria, Spain on November 14th.

For top prospect Luka Dončić it was a better outing than the previous game as he scored 18 points on 5-of-11 shooting, 2-of-7 from three, 6-of-6 from the free throw line, four assists, two rebounds, one turnover and a PIR of 19 in just 22 minutes of action.

Dončić was limited in this game in two regards. One was that he came off the bench in this game having started every other game bar the EuroLeague opener against Efes. The other was that given the blowout nature of the game, Dončić appeared very briefly in the beginning of the fourth quarter and that was it. As a result, he played just 22 minutes. In a close game, he’s playing nearly 27-28 minutes.

Offense

He has had better nights offensively but still not too shabby of a performance from Dončić: 18 points on 5-of-11 shooting from the field, 2-of-7 from three and 6-of-6 from the free throw line.

Let’s start with three-point shooting…

2-of-7 isn’t fantastic but you can instantly discount one of those: a halfcourt heave that was taken at the end of the first quarter. So, really, it’s 2-of-6, which is a bit better…

Let’s look at a few of these, shall we?

In transition, Dončić is found behind the three-point line. He waits for the defense to close out on him before driving inside. Dončić fires a pass back out behind the three-point line before fading behind the three-point line on the weak-side himself. While he does that, the ball is worked to Anthony Randolph in the corner and Randolph backs his man down in the post. Dončić finds himself open and is found by Randolph on the perimeter. Dončić has to adjust (the pass a little to his right) and bring the ball across him but still hits the three-pointer:

Stroke is looking fine on that shot…

Here, a very difficult shot… Edy Tavares’ screen doesn’t really make great contact with Jordan McRae and doesn’t give Dončić the separation he needs. Dončić sizes up McRae somewhat, goes right-to-left with the dribble before rising and hitting the contested three-pointer:

Tough shot there, good defense from McRae — not much more you can do defensively there.

Let’s look at a few of these misses…

In the pick-and-roll, Dončić goes to his right and hops into a three-pointer but the shot is off:

Not a bad shot, to be fair. The man originally defending Dončić off of the screen actually left him just as Dončić rises for the shot — it just didn’t go down.

Here we see Dončić in a catch-and-shoot situation, but can’t connect from outside:

And when things got bad:

Woof.

2-of-7 from three isn’t great, at the end of the day and these less than ideal percentages from three that we’ve seen from Luka of late are a tad concerning…

We saw Dončić, as he often has in prior games, go to his post game and he went to it again in this game.

Marcelo Huertas was the main victim as Dončić got position on him on a few occasions:

A foul is called and a trip to the line for Dončić on this occasion, two of six attempts at the line for Dončić in this game.

Here, Trey Thompkins goes to set a cross screen for Dončić, who gets to a favourable spot on the block and he goes to work on Huertas for the bucket:

The late help D isn’t enough to deter Dončić on this occasion…

We didn’t see Dončić push in transition as often as he has done in previous games in an effort to search for his own offense, the only real case of him earning some points out of a transition opportunity was when he was fouled on a dunk/layup (perhaps?) attempt, and even then it was off of a steal:

As you could probably imagine, Dončić was involved in a lot of screens/pick-and-rolls, so let’s look at some.

Here, Dončić comes off of a screen, curls and cuts to the rim but isn’t found:

I liked the movement here by Dončić but nothing came of it on this occasion.

Next, to begin the second quarter, Dončić comes off of a screen, gets downhill and extends to finish at the rim:

Bad time for the defense to shade back to his man on the wing, it opened the lane right up for Dončić to get to the rim.

The second half saw quite a number of Dončić-Tavares pick-and-roll actions (again, no Gustavo Ayon in this game). Here, off of the Tavares screen, Dončić gets to the free throw line, hesitates somewhat before continues his attack and draws contact which leads to a foul and free throws:

As with pretty much all games with any player, it wasn’t all perfect offensively. There were a few things you’d like to see done a little better.

There’s usually that possession or two a game from Dončić where he just goes into tunnel vision and seems to forget his teammates exist.

Here, a lot of dribbling from Luka (he is momentarily trapped, but not much) before he steps inside from the corner three-point line and flips a shot home as the shotclock is about to expire:

A nice execution of the flip shot but a lot of dribbling to get there (perhaps I’m being a bit harsh with this one).

However, this next clip is very, very bad:

There were more than enough opportunities to pass off to a teammate (and just one was enough in this situation), Campazzo was also wide open before being covered off. Just a horrible possession…

Again, those are few and far between but when they come they’re usually pretty bad.

Passing/playmaking

Dončić dished out four assists in this game and was his usual self in creating opportunities for his teammates.

We’ll start with the pick-and-roll.

Here, Dončić and Tavares link up for a pick-and-roll. Rudy Fernandez really opens up this play as he flashes across the lane, leaving the defender of Campazzo (who’s placed in the corner) is stuck between a rock and a hard place: to stay with his man or to focus on the cutting Fernandez (and the reason why Fernandez is left open to wander freely is because his man has shown on the Edy-Dončić pick-and-roll). In the end, he does neither, and Dončić skips the pass to the corner to the open Campazzo who hits the three:

Really liked this play and how the movement of Fernandez opened up this opportunity.

Next, Dončić and Tavares link up in the two-man game. Dončić sees a lot of bodies as he gets closer to the rim and finds Tavares with a pass that most big probably wouldn’t reach but because Edy is a behemoth and super long he can reach it, elevate slightly and scores the hoops and the harm — and-1:

Maybe he purposely delivered that pass a little long because he knew that Tavares can just reach a pass like that because he’s that long? I’m sure it’s possible…

After a screen and re-screen with Tavares, Dončić turns the corner and skips it out to the weakside corner. The extra pass is made and a good shot opportunity comes of it but it doesn’t fall:

It didn’t result in a basket but that’s a nice pass from Dončić.

Baskonia didn’t show off of as many pick-and-rolls as some previous teams did, but the one they did show off of Dončić was able to slip a nice bounce-pass inside for this assist:

While the transition game didn’t result in a lot of points for Dončić himself, he did make things happen for others.

Off of a Baskonia miss, Dončić surveys his options in transition. He spots the open Rudy Fernandez and finds him for the transition three:

Next (and this was probably my favourite play from Luka in this game), this fantastic, near full-court outlet pass — after grabbing the rebound — to Anthony Randolph and it eventually leads in a made basket — credit Dončić with the secondary assist:

Love the quick recognition and then the execution of this pass.

Defense

As is usually the case, Dončić had his good and bad moments defensively in this game. He’s never really going to wow you and he’s probably never going to be a lockdown defender but that’s OK — as long as he’s adequate he’ll be fine and he’ll probably struggle in the NBA at first but I think he’ll be fine eventually.

Here, Dončić does a good job to extend the defensive pressure on the ball and delay the entry pass to Jaycee Carroll’s man on the wing. Dončić keeps the opposition’s options limited as the help defender and the resulting shot catches nothing but air:

Here was a good contest on a three-point attempt that misses:

As for stuff you’d like to see him do better defensively, there’s a few things (and a lot of these things can/will be taught at the next level)…

Here, a miscommunication between Dončić and his teammates leads to a three-pointer for Baskonia:

I’m assuming the man in the corner was ‘supposed’ to be Dončić’s man and he’s pointing to a teammate to cover the most immediate threat in Beaubois, but Dončić will have to recognise that sometimes he’ll have to step up in that situation.

Here, perhaps you’d like to see Dončić get a hand in there and see if he can create a steal or kill the dribble… something — not just stand there with his back against the ball as it’s being pounded:

In the NBA, you can bet coaches will be working on this — it does have to change.

And, of course, there’s that one shot per game where Dončić just doesn’t contest a shot:

You get, seemingly, at least one of these a game and, it too, will be something NBA coaches will stamp out of him very quickly…

In closing vs. Baskonia…

Hard to read a whole lot into this game from Dončić…

By the time he checked into the game it was already a 19-5 game and got out of hand very quickly as Baskonia just hit absolutely everything (shooting over 61% from the field and 43% from three) and they routed Madrid, leaving Dončić’s minutes limited.

Still, Dončić was an overall positive in this game as he always is. He made things happen offensively, particularly in the post where he took advantage of the smaller Huertas and in the pick-and-roll.

Again, some nice passing/playmaking from Dončić — cracking outlet pass to Randolph, that really was great. Not as great as some previous games when it comes to playmaking, mind you, but still solid. Better than any Madrid point guard in this one and by a considerable margin.

In general, the pick-and-roll play with Edy Tavares was fun to watch and was pretty effective both for Dončić and Tavares themselves and, at times, their teammates too.

Defensively, he was fine. Not a complete liability, and though there were things you wish he didn’t do, Jordan McRae (who is a solid offensive player) didn’t exactly have a field day against Dončić either.

I guess for Dončić’s standards — or the standard we’ve come to expect of him — it was a ‘so-and-so’ game.

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